In the United States, tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, but here in the Cayman Islands, the Christmas Season has already begun.

You can tell by the weather – our famous “soft, fresh breezes” have arrived, driving off the heat and humidity of another glorious (but sweltering) summer. As we reported in Tuesday’s Compass, recent dry weather may hold a few weeks longer, signaling the end of mosquito season and hopefully leading to a de-escalation of the threat posed by the Zika virus.

Thanks to the diligent efforts of the Mosquito Research and Control Unit, the novel techniques being employed by Oxitec and its genetically modified mosquitoes, and a good dose of fortuitousness, Cayman may emerge from the Zika hysteria with no residents or tourists suffering from microcephaly or the other neurological disorders that have been linked to the virus. (The rapid deflation of the Zika panic bubble may by itself warrant a clink of the glass and a prayer of thanks over Thursday’s holiday dinners.)

You can tell by the lights – Cayman’s roundabouts are being bedecked in their glittering winter regalia, transforming the ordinary traffic circles into individual Christmas pageants in miniature. Likewise, local families are electrifying the exterior of their homes, with the standard for Christmas spirit being set, as usual, by the Crightons on Shamrock Road and the Boddens on South Church Street. Last Saturday, thousands of people converged to take part in Camana Bay’s 10th annual Tree Lighting ceremony, featuring a visit from Santa Claus himself.

Although we encourage everyone to partake freely in the holiday spirit, we will take a moment to remind everyone to exercise moderation while drinking holiday spirits (such as eggnog and sorrel), particularly those who plan on driving. Also, even if you are sober, it’s important to take care and watch out for others on the road, meaning if you want to take a picture of a spectacular display of decorations, take time to pull over and snap your photo from a safe place. (One of our journalists has already observed someone coming very close to having their Christmas cut drastically short by oncoming traffic near the Cayman National roundabout.)

But most of all, you can tell by the Christmas cheer – festive songs will soon be broadcast on the radio, playing in stores and sung by choirs. Preachers and pastors are preparing their special sermons. Students are rehearsing their Christmas performances.

Hotels, restaurants and stores are gearing up for their busiest and most lucrative time of the year. Charities and volunteers are making last-minute preparations for fundraising events to support their good works in 2017.

There’s an extra degree of warmth in people’s greetings, a bit more brightness in smiles and some additional spring in footsteps.

Yes, it’s definitely that time again. Yes, it’s winter in Cayman. Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays, to all!

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